Created by Dr. Debra Pepler of York University and Dr. Wendy Craig of Queen’s University, PREVNet – Promoting Relationshipsi and Eliminating Violenceii Network – is “an umbrella network of 122 leading Canadian research scientists and 62 national youth-serving organizations.” Their mission is to “stop bullying in Canada and to promote safe and healthy relationships for all Canadian children and youth.”
Based on this mission statement and this organisation’s name alone, we’re sure to be in for some lulz (and hopefully a useful look at the calibre of discourse presently surrounding this “issue”), so let’s see what we can squeeze out of their cyberbullying page :iii
The world is more connected than it has ever been. Skype, email, Facebook, Twitter. We can snap a picture on our phones, post a thought or share a joke with thousands of other people – all within a matter of seconds. Today’s teens, having never known a word without the Internet, are especially adept at picking up new technology and use electronic communication to create vital social networks.
I suppose this is a point, y’know, even if it’s almost certainly a glaring typo that has no place on a landing page. Today’s teens have never known a word without
the Internet Facebook and Twitter. What Latin ? What classics ? What Shakespeare ? What Aristotle ? What pieces of dead trees on physical shelves in meat-containing spaces ? When you have Buzzfeed, meta-hipsterdom, your “progressive” echo chamber, and a healthy scoop of learned helplessness, what need is there of language, learning, and, hell, life ?
Problems arise when the technology that is supposed to bring people together is used instead to abuse others, pushing peers out of their social network into a world that is filled with loneliness, embarrassment, fear or shame.
Bitch say what ? You’re telling me what the technology that I own is supposed to do and how it’s supposed to be used ? Sorry hun, not how this works. When I own something, or my kid owns something, they’re free to use it in any way that it can be used, regardless of how much this may offend your puritan sensibilities and your prudishly jealous post-menopausal worldview. In the exact same way that Hot Wheels never intended for your dumb husband to end up with a Big Foot Monster Truck replica inside a condom inside his ass and just like Del Monte never intended that banana to end up inside your daughter’s pussy, toys and tools are in no way limited to the “intentions” of their manufacturers and are ipso facto limited exclusively by the imaginations of their owners.
As such, the limp bizkit diktates of dumb hoes who even accidentally imagine that they know better than the owners of a technology are to be summarily ignored. Seriously now, as fucking if anyone with a functioning neocortex wants to live in a world where such stupid “morals” are somehow superior despite the fact that they ensure 1) Enslavement to the State, and 2) The inability to create productive institutions and culture.iv As if. That’s not a world worth living in. Hierarchy is, lest we forget the lessons of history, as necessary for carbon-based life as is oxygen.v A world that aims to be without hierarchy is the most blood-thirsty invention yet devised by man, and far more men have died in the name of Equality than have ever died in the name of God, despite whatever the statist shills you had for teachers “taught” you.
But hey, Pepler, Craig, et al. don’t really give a shit about that kind of stuff, those kind of “nice to haves,” just so long as everyone gets along and there’s no unfair hierarchy to speak of, ya ? And just as long as everyone keeps consuming endless piles of refuse so that a few impoverished souls can keep their jobs at Gawker, for as long as that’s a thing. Gotta keep a smile on !
Ok, that’s all fine and dandy and possibly even a bit long-winded given that we’re only a pair of paragraphs through this thing, but what is “cyberbullying” anyways ? Here’s PERVNet’svi take with my solutions to these “problems” added as footnotes. (Dear bullied kiddos, from someone who knows a thing or two about bullying and yes! even being bullied! take these little tidbits of advice to heart should you ever face any of these situations. In advance, you’re welcome) :vii
- Sending mean and sometimes threatening emails or text messagesviii
- Spreading gossip, secrets or rumours about another person that will damage that person’s reputation.ix
- Breaking into an email account and sending hurtful materials to others under an assumed identity.x
- Creating blogs or websites that have stories, cartoons, pictures or jokes ridiculing others.xi
- Creating polling websites where visitors are asked to rate individuals’ attributes in a negative manner.xii
- Taking an embarrassing photo of someone with a digital camera and emailing that photo to others.xiii
- Engaging someone in instant messaging, tricking them into revealing personal information and then forwarding that information to others.xiv
- Using someone else’s password in order to change their profile to reflect sexual, racist and other content that may offend others.xv
- Posting false or hurtful messages on online bulletin boards or in chat rooms.xvi
- Deliberately excluding others from instant messaging and email contact lists.xvii
So that’s the mechanics of the thing and a few choice counterpunches, and now you might be wondering what the effects look like. Pepler and Craig explain their view and why “cyberbullying” is worse than Hitler :xviii
Unlike other forms of bullying, the harassment, humiliation, intimidation and threatening of others through cyberbullying occurs 24 hours a day. It is relentless and aggressive, reaching kids at the dinner table while sitting with their parents, or in the privacy of their bedroom. There is no safe zone.
While it’s certainly true that the Internet is ever-present in our lives and not set to go quietly into the night anytime soon, it’s quite the bold misrepresentation to imagine that every hour of the day is available to “online intimidation” any more than every hour of the day is available to eating cheesecake and holding your breath. Last I checked, there was such a thing as sleeping, reading, playing sports, and going for a walk without your fucking smartphonexix glued to your stupid child’s stupid hip. Yes, there’s a world outside the screen and your children would do well to find it, explore it, gather some inkling as to what sort of social behaviours work and which ones don’t before graduating to the big leagues. You don’t want to send a chickie to a cock fight now do you ?
Kids who bully others through electronic means are able to hide behind the technology, remaining anonymous if they choose. Kids who cyberbully don’t immediately see the reaction of their words or taunts, which might otherwise spark some empathy for the pain they have caused. Not witnessing the reaction of others makes it easier to become more aggressive and viscous.
This whole notion that “anonymous cyberbullies are a threat to public safety” is so entirely and completely offensive from every intellectual perspective, not only to parents but also to children, that I can’t even begin to tell you. I mean, do you seriously intend to tell me that children are too fucking stupid to ignore completely anonymous comments on their posts ? If they have no inkling as to who said that they suck a bag of donkey balls and they took it to heart as if their father had told it to them, how fragile are they ?
I can completely see pseudonymous bullies being effective because your kid knows exactly who they are and that the hierarchy is being properly established by someone they come into regular contact with, be it at school, in sports, or wherever. But totally anonymous “jerkoff123″ ? If so, you need to sit your kids down and teach them how pathetic and despicable such lowlifes are and how cowardly and sub-human their unworthy behaviours are. Y’know, like whatshisface.
Teaching your kids etiquette and propriety, even when they’re being bullied and all they want to do is curl up in a ball and wait until they’re grown-up, is perhaps the wisest approach you can take. That, and helping your kids to find domains where they’re above-average in competency from which they can not only find satisfaction, but also increased confidence. It’s not like your kid is legitimately the worst at everything and anything, right ? So put him in some classes and see what sticks !
Kids who witness cyberbullying by receiving messages or forwarding them to others don’t consider themselves as being part of the problem. Forwarding hurtful messages or content can increase the number of people who witness the bullying of another by thousands, instantly. “Liking” a message or passing it on tells the person who is cyberbullying that his or her behaviour is okay, and makes it easier for that person to become more aggressive and viscous.
Kids who are cyberbullied feel an intense sense of isolation, fear, loneliness and despair. Their desperation can sometimes lead to acts of self-harm or tragically, even suicide.
That’s it, really. In the end, bullying’s nothing detrimental – the unfortunate and exceedingly rare cases of suicide aside – which is wonderful news, because bullying’s also not in any way avoidable. It’s as right as rain and every bit as necessary for growth and human flourishing. It just also so happens to be one of those things that’s misrepresented by ignorant derps with degrees as being “unnecessary” and “preventable” when it is not and cannot be either, no matter how many wishes the genie in the bottle gives you.
Like every other relationship that your child will face in their lifetimes, their relationship with their bullies is another one for them to manage, understand, and learn from.
As ever, don’t paper over their world. Help them to find their place in it.
___ ___ ___
- “Promoting relationships” is obviously and quite entirely inaccurately meant to mean “Promoting perfect seamless mushy equality the likes of which are only known in heaven above but maybe if we try this socialism thing I just heard about we can bring it down to our fair green Earth as well.”
This, incidentally, is the exact same brand of broken nonsense that’s makes Android the clusterfuck of a “MisOperating System” that it is and why Stagefright is only the tip of the dark, seething iceberg. Google, or should I say “alFaBIt,” went for the “Let all the little derps and all the little derpettes diddle all the lines of kode because the komoonity knows best and such and such.”
This is why mass adoption smells worse than the wretching gutters of Mumbai. This is why goodness is the domain of the elite. This and this a million times until you get it through your thick skull that you want nothing to do with, to paraphrase Stalin, the quality that is quantity. I mean, what’s wrong with plain ol’ high falutin’ quality ? [↩]
- “Eliminating violence” is obviously and quite entirely inaccurately meant to mean “Promoting inaction in all its various and sundry forms so as to remove any meaningful ability or skill that might differentiate one individual from another so as to promote the utopean etatist vision of a racist-free social co-operative with which to bring everlasting peace to the world.” How very original, this. [↩]
- PREVNet isn’t that unique, really, but the RCMP’s webpage on “cyberbullying” linked to them so they’re definitely in bed with the fiat devils, which makes them that much worse than the local grassroots community league type of affair. So it goes. [↩]
- To quote MP :
Contrary to pop-pedagogy, this entire circle-of-bullying theory is just as much bullshit. People bully people because the social hierarchy must be constructed, and as a central element to social stability its importance far exceeds any individual inconvenience its emergence may cause. It’s true that all people that bully were in their turn bullied, because in any functioning society everyone was bullied, and if they weren’t there’s nobody to sit around and contemplate the fact as the whole world simply collapsed just like a mammoth without a bone in its body. An equally strong argument would be to say that cancer causes people to have sex so their offspring may in turn get cancer. While it’s true that anyone who ever had sex comes out of people who in turn had sex, and it’s also true that anyone who ever had cancer also comes out of people who had sex, nevertheless the train stops there. No causation whatsoever, sex being ubiquitous doesn’t mean it also is the “cause” of any particular turn of ulterior events.
The political stake, of course, is that the state would like to significantly expand its self-declared “monopoly on violence” alllll the way into social hierarchy formation, in a vain hope that should it somehow become able to control societal hierarchies it will then become able to ensure its own survival. Neither prong of this strategy works in practice (yes, it’s been tried to death, in no way a novel notion). This amusingly happens just as said “monopoly on violence” was violently shown to be a sham exactly every time anyone felt like bothering with it. It’s the determined man who holds the monopoly on violence, be he a “terrorist” or “law enforcement officer”, and no corporation may ever obtain this fearsome lightning for itself no matter what happens.
- Speaking of oxygen and hierarchy, you simply have to watch Arnold Schwarzeneggar in his body building prime in the documentary Pumping Iron (1977). The man is a masterful bully. If you only have a dozen minutes, here’s a best-of. [↩]
- If PREVs are bad, PERVs must be every bit as awful mkay. But what’s a “perv” anyways ? Well, it’s complicated :
mircea_popescu: What’s a “perv” ? I suppose anyone not aiming to get them pregnant’s perverse by the general definition. This also includes the girls in question.
chetty: Well what is and isn’t a ‘perv’ is a pretty personal definition. Some might go with the pregnant call but not many, imo.
mircea_popescu: Still, the word has to have a shared meaning. What’s this personal thing ? Can’t have personally defined words.
chetty: Well let’s make it easy then, most of the ‘men’ in this channel would seem to qualify under common understanding of the word.
mircea_popescu: Which is ?
chetty: Consider the general attitude of women mostly only fit to be cows or slaves …
mircea_popescu: That’s far from general is it.
chetty: Nah, its general enough, this channel is just more honest about it.
mircea_popescu: Most people are in fact cows and would greatly benefit from making the step up to slavery, but afaik I’m pretty much the only one with that view.
chetty: Nah, it’s just most couch it more politely.
Hey, there ya go, in retardspeak, perv = impolite.
What’s impolite ? These days, in the “Equalist West” you’d swear it was no more than recognising the existence of a fellow human being and acknowledging them with a look, nod, wink, or even, *gasp* words! [↩]
- Yes, I was bullied in elementary school by a couple of physically tougher hockey boys (one who is now in “real estate marketing” and one who dropped out of high school and fell off the map), so in turn I bullied two other kid in class, one who was noticeably more awkward than I was (and is now a charming car salesman) and one who was just slightly nerdier than I was (and is now a medical doctor), in addition to my younger brother, of course.
My brother once famously asked me why I bullied him, the kind of question I never could’ve imagined asking my bullies at school, and to which I replied with the sagacity of a thousand Tibetan monks left to meditate for a thousand years : “I get bullied at school so now I have to bully you. It’s just how it goes.” Lil’ Pete hit the nail on the head, it’s just how it goes! [↩]
- Solution : Don’t open the emails or messages. Can your agile little fingers manage that ? [↩]
- Solution : If your reputation is so fragile and your ability to deal with shit is so poor that you let it get to you or you’re unable to handle the consequences of gossip, you don’t deserve a good reputation. Besides, if you never pissed someone off, you’re doing it wrong. Additionally, time separates the fact from the fiction. If all else fails, wait it out. [↩]
- Solution : Make a stronger password (use dice) and be mindful of social engineering attacks. which may include, and not be limited to, distracting you one way while someone from the other direction steals your phone or your login creds from you screen in the computer lab. Wait, schools still have computer labs, right ? [↩]
- Solution : Create your own blog, ridicule someone lower than you on the totem pole, find your place in the hierarchy. Or, if, for whatever reason, you don’t feel like publicly picking on someone below you, just start telling your story. It’s good practise to crystalise your thoughts as long as you’re not using it to wallow in self-pity and pull shamelessly at the empathic emotional strings of your readers. Use your blog as a platform from which to be as objective as possible about your experiences. [↩]
- Solution : Hop of Fiverr or equivalent and pay for enough clicks to rig the poll in your favour and/or against your enemy. The Internet is a tool, a beautiful, beautiful tool. Use it. [↩]
- Solution : Don’t let idjits take compromising photos of you. If the photo’s already been taken, own the photo and the circumstance that led to it. “Yup, that was me,” is a perfectly acceptable response. Pretending like it was someone else and that you’re some perfect little angel who would never in a million years do something like that, isn’t going to win you any points nor cover you from blame. At the very least, this should be an object lesson in what you can and can’t allow to be posted about you online. Control what you can, don’t sweat the rest. [↩]
- Solution : Again, heads up on social engineering attacks. It’s the oldest trick in the book. Also, you’re never to young to learn cryptography. If you can’t verify someone’s identity online, or you have any reason to be suspicious, verify then trust. So if you’re chatting with your friend and you have a sneaking suspicion that it’s actually their older brother logged in on the family computer on the other end, call or text your friend to confirm that he’s at home and on the computer he’s supposed to be on before spilling juicy gossip or sending risque photos. [↩]
- Solution : Wait, what’s wrong with offending others again ? Frankly, these haxxors are doing you a great service by letting the world know that you’re not afraid to go against the grain. Maybe send them a thank-you card. Then we’ll see who’s embarrassed. [↩]
- Solution : Go into the chat rooms or onto the bulletin boards and set the record straight, ideally as aggressively as you can muster. Alternatively, never go on the chat rooms and message boards. Go to school, go play sports after class, go home. Ideally, find something you’re good at and do a lot more of it until you’re excellent at it, one of the best in the city even. [↩]
- Solution : Find other friends. These are not the drones you’re looking for. [↩]
- Even if Hitler is exactly who Pepler and Craig want to enforce their totalitarian dreams. Funny how that works, eh ? [↩]
- To quote an earlier piece :
So it’s no great surprise that metatards imagine themselves superior to their superiors for as long as they have food on their plates and shirts on their backs. That’s no great revelation. But what’s remarkable is the notion that free agents wield SMARTPHONES. Seriously now. There really is nothing in the world of computing (and I use the term “computing” in the absolutely loosest possible sense only for effect) that’s more akin to a TV and less akin to a programmable device with root access and therefore nothing less free and quite so entirely entrapping. Smartphones are about as empowering Britney Spears poptunes and unsurprisingly cater to the exact same demographic : little girls, be they 11-years-old with a bare cunt or 38-years-old with big bushy balls.